In a new study, researchers found that high levels of iron in the body can help boost heart health. But at the same time, the mineral may increase stroke risk.
The research was led by a team from Imperial College London.
Iron is a crucial mineral in the body and is essential for carrying oxygen around the body.
In the study, the team did a series of experiments examining genetic data from over 500,000 people. They wanted to explore the role that iron plays in over 900 diseases.
They found that naturally higher iron levels were linked to a lower risk of high cholesterol levels and also reduced the risk of arteries becoming furred with a build-up of fatty substances.
The artery disease is called atherosclerosis. It is a big risk factor for heart disease.
The team also found potential health risks linked to naturally higher iron levels.
High iron levels were linked to a risk of clots related to slow blood flow, which can increase the risk of certain types of stroke and the condition deep vein thrombosis.
In addition, High iron in the body was also linked to a higher risk of bacterial skin infection.
The team says getting the right amount of iron in the body is a fine balance. Too little can lead to anemia, but too much can lead to a range of problems including liver damage.
The current study focused on naturally occurring iron levels in the body. Future work needs to test the effect of taking iron supplements.
The researchers caution anyone to speak to their doctor before starting or stopping using iron supplements.
The lead author of the study is Dr. Dipender Gill from Imperial’s School of Public Health.
The study findings are published in the Journal of the American Heart Association and PLOS Medicine.
Copyright © 2019 Knowridge Science Report. All rights reserved.